Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Across The Divide

I cried myself to sleep last night.  I awoke to a grey, gloomy, rainy day in which Donald Trump is the President-elect of the United States. I'm still processing.  I think I'm grieving for the loss of the America I thought I knew and loved.

Let me preface this by saying politics is so not my thing. I usually don't discuss it publicly because I have family, friends and co-workers who don't think the way I think or believe the way I believe.  I respect their right to think and believe differently. I don't want to alienate or hurt anyone or destroy friendships that are otherwise enjoyable over a difference in ideology.  Although I am extremely grateful for the right to vote, there isn't much about the process I enjoy. In fact, I detest the incessant phone calls, heaps of mailed flyers, and endless negative advertising that we are forced to endure in any election year.

This campaign year was the worst ever. I was unhappy with the choice of candidates, embarrassed that this was the best America could offer for the highest position in the nation,  praying that a strong third party candidate would arise that I could get behind.

When it didn't happen, I spent a lot of time clicking through articles and trying to divine just what each candidate was promising to accomplish if elected. Trying hard to ignore all the bashing of the other candidate and all the negative advertising and just get down to the issues. Not easy, considering that neither candidate did a stellar job of clearly articulating their plans.  I knew Trump wanted to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, but no clue what he would put in its place. I knew Clinton was promising to create jobs, I wasn't clear on how. The protection of equality for all (regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or ability), the protection of our environment, the protection of a woman's right to autonomy in her own medical decisions, the protection of those seeking asylum from terrible situations not of their own making, among other things, informed my vote.  

As I was watching the election coverage last night, I was dismayed to learn that the support for Trump wasn't really about being Pro-Life or defending the right to own guns (maybe some of it was). It was about an army of poor working class white men (and women?) who feel their voices have been marginalized in favor of every other segment of the population (minorities, women, the disabled, LGBT, non-evangelical Christian religions, etc.), whose pay has stagnated, who have been left behind by the country that they loved. I imagine it is hard for them to accept that the country is growing and changing, and that soon they won't be the majority. Last night they made their voices were heard, loud and clear.  As a nation, we have to own that maybe we didn't listen when it mattered.  Maybe they have a point that needs to be considered.

But it hurts my heart that this economically disenfranchised group were so desperate to change the status quo, to shake up Washington, that they were willing to chance a vote for an openly racist, misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic, hate-mongering, violence inciting, tax cheat for the hope of a different future. I believe that the majority of these folks are decent, honest, hard-working people who don't condone the hate rhetoric spewed during the campaign. At least I hope so. If not, our country is far more screwed than I imagined.  I'm not naive enough to miss the factions of white supremacists who would love nothing more than to kick to the curb everyone who doesn't look or think or pray like them. That kind of hatred exists everywhere in some form.  But I like to believe that they constitute a rather small percentage of the population.  At least I hope so.

So today I'm processing what went down.  The pragmatic side of me acknowledges that in another week or month (or maybe not until after he takes office), everyone will settle into the reality that Donald Trump is the next President of the United States.  They will move on with their everyday lives.  The stock market will settle. We will begin the arduous task of trying to reunite this country. We are far more divided than I knew or was willing to believe possible, as evidenced by the nearly even split in the popular vote.  

Already Trump has surprised me. First that he won. And second, that his victory speech was almost presidential. He didn't gloat. He sounded sincere about wanting to be the President for "everyone."  (Which I admit is totally at odds with comments he made about women, minorities, immigrants, the disabled, and Muslims during his campaign).  I hope that Trump will bring some good to this country, that by shaking up government he will be able to make a positive change in some way. I hope he will prove wrong all of our fears about his capability to fulfill the highest calling in the nation. I hope that his "crazy" was an act, a means to an end, and that we are not giving a man who is truly mentally ill the keys to the kingdom. I don't have to like him at all to hope he succeeds as our President. I will join the rank and file in granting him a peaceful transition to power and pray that he is a quick learner and can step up to the job of being leader of our country.

As for me, I can't change the results of the election, but I can accept them gracefully and without rancor. I can work within my own sphere of influence.  My intention is to live my life as fully and as happily as I can. To be as kind and generous as I can. To commiserate with those who think and believe like me.  To reach across the divide to those who don't, and to find common ground to move forward. I intend to let my light shine as brightly as I am able.  And I hope that whatever good I do, whatever love and kindness I show, whatever light I shine, will help to balance the scales against fear and hatred, and help to light the darkness.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Rachel and Becca

Rachel and Becca turned 23 on Tuesday.  We celebrated with a dinner out at the Cheesecake Factory. My last post about them was right after their graduation.  What about since then?

Rachel is still living at home, still looking for a job.  She waitressed a lot of hours at the Piper Tavern at the beginning of the Summer, but then gave up her regular hours at the time of our trip to London.  She fills in occasionally now, but mostly is home binge-watching television or meeting up with her friends.  I'm hoping she finds a job soon.  She really wants something in or around Philadelphia as she wants to move to the city and try on city life.  Fingers crossed!

Becca finished her Internship at Doylestown Hospital Cardiac Rehab.  She is now back at Bucks County Community College, working to get her Nursing degree.  We've agreed to continue supporting her through this next round of education, assuming she does well this semester.  It's kind of make or break on that front.  Becca works as a nanny for twin 21 month old boys on Monday and Tuesday, has class and lab on Wednesday and clinical on Thursday. She uses Friday to study and work on the Kinesiology class she is taking online. It is a full schedule.  And then she does her best to spend as much of the weekend as humanly possible with boyfriend Kyle.  She's also found a very supportive study group which is something new for her, but is already proving helpful. They've managed to teach her long division!  She's the youngest student in her group - most of them are in their 40's and 50's.  I think she has become their pet project.

So, we aren't quite empty-nesters just yet. And we are still settling in to having them home full time.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

London and Edinburgh

I went! And I've been back home for a month already. That doesn't even seem possible...  Here's the highlights:

Tower Bridge. Learned that it isn't the London Bridge! Went up to the glass walkway thing and looked down. Freaked out one of the family members. Lots of efforts made by certain family members to get the "perfect" Instagram worthy photo here. (On MULTIPLE occasions). We also saw Westminster Abbey, The Tower of London, Big Ben... you know, all the basic touristy stops.
 Buckingham Palace. That tour was a LOT of walking - it ends somewhere around the back and it felt like miles to get back where we started.  Tried to watch the changing of the guard, but by the time we were done the tour the crowds were so thick it was literally impossible to see anything.
This is what started it all.  If you have a chance, GO! The play was fantastic and well worth the price of admission, including the expensive plane fare to get there.
 Stonehenge.  Everyone wants to know was it bigger or smaller than you imagined?  I'd say it was right on par with what I expected. And I'd love for someone to figure out why the folks who did this went to all the trouble when they were nomadic... It was cold and windy up there and we weren't dressed for it. But enjoyed it anyway!
Salisbury Cathedral. It was raining when we went in, but looked like this when it was time to leave. The building is absolutely gorgeous. Spent a nice couple of hours here.  They have the magna carta on display.
 Tea at Bea's of Bloomsbury with my blog friends. Me, Mrs. Wookie, Alexa, Jacky, and Fiona.  It was so wonderful to meet all of them and I felt so honored that they would take the time out of their schedules to travel to London to see me!  Jacky made me a beautiful mixed media montage of London and Fiona gifted me with the cutest little tissue holder (that came in very handy up on Arthur's Seat).  But the best gift of all was just getting to sit and chat with them for two hours. It was over so quickly!
 The remains of Duone Castle in Scotland - one of the sites for filming of the show Outlander.  I walked in some of the same places as Jamie Fraser (played by Sam Heughan).  Really cool.
View of Scotland from the top of Edinburgh Castle.  This is where we started our last day in Edinburgh - after hiking up the Royal Mile to get there.
And this is the view of Scotland from the top of Arthur's Seat.  This is where we ended our day after touring several places along the Royal Mile (Mary King's Close, Holyrood Palace, lots of gift shops).  I trained all spring and summer to be able to make this hike and I DID IT! Admittedly I huffed and puffed and cursed my way to the top and arrived red-faced and breathless.  Hit a personal best of 26,659 steps this day (over 11 miles) and a lot of those steps were uphill. But the view was so worth it and I think even my family was a bit impressed that I'd done it!

London was fun, but far too busy and fast-paced for my tastes. I feel like I can say I visited, saw most of the important sites, and have no need to rush back.  Scotland was more my style. The scenery was gorgeous and since we only had two full days there, I feel that we hardly scratched the surface of what we could have seen.  I'd love to go back and spend time in both Scotland and Ireland.  We also found that staying in small flats with a family of five and doing everything together was, well, maybe just a touch more family togetherness than we were all prepared for!  The flight home was blessedly uneventful and I was back to work the next day (what was I thinking???).  I can't believe it was already a month ago.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

My Mother

I absolutely cannot believe it is September already! This summer has been crazy busy and I have so much catching up to do here, so many things to share.  But my life hasn't miraculously slowed down (I wish) so the updates will have to be short and sweet as I can fit them in between everything else.

I've made a list and hope to tackle one subject a day.  No promises.

First up.  I just got back from Texas where I was visiting my mother prior to her surgery.  She's had a re-occurrence of her very rare form of cancer called soft tissue sarcoma.  This time it has taken up residence in the right lobe of her liver.  She has a few more tests yet and then a surgery date will be set to remove that half of her liver.  Those of you who are prayer warriors, please add her to your prayer list.  Her name is Sandy.  I know she will appreciate it!

While I was in Texas we had a quick meet-up with Melissa before she took off on her own adventure. So here we are - Sandy, Sarah, Cheri, and Melissa at the Frisco Mercantile enjoying an hour of artsy inspiration!

Til next time!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Countdown to London

I can't believe that two weeks from this moment I'll be on a plane somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, winging my way to London.  With that in mind, I know that it is high time I've checked back in with my blog peeps and finalized some plans!

I asked those of you who live anywhere within reasonable traveling distance of London to save the date and meet up with me on Friday, July 29th for dinner.  Now I need to get a count of who will be able to be there and make some reservations. Will YOU be able to meet up with me????  The apartment we have rented is in the Fitzrovia section of London and I'll be looking for a restaurant close to there, but also close to a station for those using public transportation.  King's Cross is fairly close by.  Any recommendations?

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this shot of Item 15 on the Scavenger Hunt - a team logo.  Taken at the Varsity Inn Restaurant in Ocean City N.J.  Almost every square inch of wall space is covered with college team pennants.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Memorandum Monday - a post without a photo

I did have something "new" happen to me over the weekend. But it wasn't pleasant.  You'll be glad there are no photos.

I was driving down Route 33 headed to Saylorsburg - Jay and I were on our way to one of our favorite flea markets. Less than a mile from the exit, I saw a flash of grey and heard a "thwack" against my windshield (at 60 miles per hour). The sound literally made me feel sick in the pit of my stomach.  And then I just started sobbing.  I don't know what kind of bird it was. There was nothing I could have done to avoid it, as it flew right into the windshield.  After nearly 40 years of driving with a clean record, killing nothing more than the bugs that splatter against the windshield on the highway, I experienced my first nature fatality at my own hands.

As we arrived at the flea market and parked, I was still crying. I hope nothing like that ever happens again because it honestly felt awful.

On a happier note, we had a great flea marketing weekend and I hope to catch you all up soon on what is happening with The Shop these days!

Two Weeks Ago

My babies became college graduates...
 A friend of theirs took this photo. I love it. No need to say more.

 On a grey and drizzly Saturday morning, we gathered outside to watch the first ceremony - the graduation of the Schools of Business and Education.  Rachel has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Communications.  The red cord denotes honors in her major.

The second ceremony, for the School of Science, began just past noon. And the sun had finally put in an appearance, so we were all stripping off the layers of clothing we had needed to survive the morning.  We got to listen to another round of all the same speeches. Then I missed getting Becca during the recessional because she was way earlier in the pack than we anticipated.  But she was happy to recreate her victory moment.  She graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science.  One very tough and demanding major.  We couldn't be prouder!

And we got through the day with a minimum of drama!

Now the girls are moved back home and we are still working to integrate their stuff and their schedules into our home and daily routine.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Dusting Off The Microphone

Tap. Tap. Hello?  Is this thing on???

By now all my readers have likely moved on to more interesting and updated hotspots or are sitting back in wonderment at how eerily quiet things have been in my little piece of real estate in the blogosphere.  Is the place vacant?  Did she pack up and move in the middle of the night?

No, I'm still here. Well, sort of still here.  I've planned so many posts in my brain, but have had such precious little time to translate any of them to words on a screen.  I think about writing. Then I don't. Then I feel guilty. I've let myself down. I've let my readers down. My little home on Planet Internet has been left lonely and neglected. The weeds are growing rampant, the dust lies thickly on every surface. The place looks abandoned.  All that is missing are the shuttered windows and the crooked hanging sign that says "closed".  

What could have possibly kept me away for so long?  Hmmm.  Life?  A series of unfortunate events?  Yes, and Yes.  Remember how back in February my computer DIED suddenly and without warning?  And I had to wait until March 10 to get my new one? And then all the time spent setting it up?  ... Well, I had barely owned the thing for a month when it somehow caught a nasty virus and we had to restore it back to factory settings.  All that time I spent setting it up ... all the programs loaded.... all the preferences checked... ALL GONE. Again.

The virus happened around mid-April... so it isn't a surprise to me look back and see that I haven't blogged since April 4th.  We got the discs and did the whole reset on April 25th and I started loading programs again. But this time, my heart just hasn't been in it.  I still don't have PSE and LR set up for my preferences, and I'm still finding Windows 10 a bit confusing to navigate. And the computer is still a bit fussy and temperamental.  So it is hard to get photos to go with posts since my editing capabilities aren't fully functional yet. And I really hate to post without photos.

So here are some photos:

 These first three are layouts created for Rachel & Becca's School of Life albums for 7th through 12th grades.  I did all these at the ALS Charity Crop on April 22 & 23.  I found it very hard to digi-scrap on my laptop computer.  The screen just isn't big enough!

This two page spread is of Sarah's high school graduation party - it will feature in all three girls' albums as it is a great example of what it looks like when extended family & friends gather! That was really all I could handle for a day & a half crop, but still happy to have them done!

I will endeavor to stop back at some point during the weekend and catch you up on other doings in my life. But please don't hold me to it - life is crazy busy right now!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Memorandum Monday

I spent last weekend in D.C. visiting Sarah.   We drove down Friday morning.  New things I did on Friday:  saw the movie "Alliegant" and went to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum.  There I saw:

A Concorde jet. I learned that these planes catered to first class customers and could carry 100 passengers across the Atlantic in less than 4 hours.  I wish that were true of the flight I'll be taking in July!  Alas, the Concorde fleet was retired in 2003 and this plane was donated to the museum.

The space shuttle Discovery.  I learned that the Discovery completed 39 missions between 1984 - 2011 before it was retired.  Seeing this thing up close, it is really much larger than I had imagined it would be, although my husband tells me much of the space was a cargo hold, not areas for the astronauts.

There were so many other interesting aircraft - WWI fighters,  military helicopters, racing planes - a very interesting stop!

On Sunday I went to a new to me flea market - in an indoor parking garage structure in Arlington, VA!  Interesting flea market, but the parking garage is dark and made it difficult to really see all the goodies.

Joining in with Sian and all the Memorandum Monday folks. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Since Spring isn't quite here yet, I splurged at Trader Joe's and bought myself a $5.99 bouquet of Easter flowers.  Who says money can't buy happiness?

Joining in with Helena's meme this week.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Memorandum Monday

To:  All My Blog Friends
From: Cheri
Date: March 28, 2016
Re: Your Health

I have been reading Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter.  It follows closely with Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis that I read a few years ago. Both books espouse the theory that our grain-laden diets (and especially the GMO grains) are responsible for a myriad of medical problems from type 2 diabetes and obesity to skin conditions, headaches, and a host of inflammatory diseases. Grain Brain goes beyond the physical conditions and claims that grains and sugar are responsible for (or negatively affect) conditions such as Alzheimers, Parkinson's, bi-polar disorder, and even ADHD.

I'm not that far into the book, but this past weekend I read that studies as far back as nineteen years ago (and the book was published in 2013, so even longer than that) showed no correlation between high cholesterol levels and the incidence of heart attack or stroke. In fact, Perlmutter claims that people with high cholesterol levels (240+) fared better on memory and cognitive testing and had lower incidence of dementia than people with low cholesterol levels.  Say what now?   Yet, the medical and pharma communities are still pushing us to eat low-fat, low-cholesterol diets and to take statins if cholesterol levels hit over the 200 mark. So glad I passed on that statin prescription last year!

As I said, I'm not that far into the book, and I'm not taking it as gospel, but it is a strong reminder as to why I went to a Paleo lifestyle several years ago and a reminder that I need to get back to it. Unfortunately the convenience (grab and go) of grain-based products always seems to pull me back.

Today, Cathy Zielski shared this article on our FIT group.  It's a very condensed version of some of the same thoughts if you want a quick read!

recycling an old photo to add some happy to this post!
Joining in with Sian and all the Memorandum Monday folks. Hope you all have a healthy and happy week!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Pick Of The Week

This week's Pick - picked at a firehouse flea market on Sunday morning - a pair of cast aluminum wall plaques depicting soldiers from the Revolutionary War period. The black coat is from the Continental Army, the green coat is a Minuteman.  These were created by the Sexton company from Raytown, Missouri circa 1960's and measure about 21" tall each.  The Sexton company created cast metal wall decor in a variety of themes (vehicles, military, household items, historical figures, etc.) before going out of business in 2001.

I just thought they looked cool!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Memorandum Monday

Linking up with Sian and all the other Memo Monday folks!

My weekend was pretty routine.  The one thing I did that was new for me was spend TWO HOURS on the phone with my daughter Sarah.  She is a bridesmaid in a wedding this June and has tapped me for creative help planning the Bachelorette Party.  She had a theme and ideas, I just helped flesh them out and volunteered my crafting services. But TWO HOURS non-stop on the phone - WOW!

Saw this on St. Patrick's Day. It literally only lasted a few minutes. But it was gorgeous while it was there!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Pick Of The Week - A Mystery

This one is a total mystery to me!

The size is 14" square and about 4" high.  Which is highly suggestive of a cake platform (like they use at weddings).  Or maybe a pot stand for indoor plants? My web searches of cake platforms, plates, and risers turned up nothing with a patterned top like this.  Indeed, I couldn't imagine putting a cake on top of inlaid enamel.  And my search for plant or pot stands came up empty handed as well.

This is a shot down on the inlaid enamel top. The pattern appears too "perfect" for the leading to be hand laid, so I'm guessing it is machine made. But I'm not positive.  The colors are actually very bright and jewel-toned.  But my web searches of inlaid enamel turned up jewelry, vases, and trinket boxes - nothing like this!

The floral and striped detailing on the sides appears to be embossed tin, wrapped around the edges of side and tacked down with very tiny finish nails or pins.  Reminds me of tin ceiling tiles.

The claw feet are attached to the base with slotted rather than Phillips head screws, which suggest that it is an older piece.

There is nothing anywhere on the piece to identify a manufacturer, country of origin, or date.

So can any of you help me solve this mystery?  Ever seen anything like this before?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Memorandum Monday (Tuesday Edition) - The Computer Saga

Linking up with Sian and all the other Memo Monday folks!

My story for Memorandum Monday goes like this.  On February 23, after doing some work on my home computer (which was my OLD work laptop hooked up to a large monitor and full size keyboard and still running Windows XP), I went out to the grocery store.  When I came home, my screen was black. I tried rebooting -  nothing.  Jay came home and ran some utility, but was unable to "see" the hard drive.  On February 24 he took the laptop apart and ran the drive through some reader machine. Still nothing. Diagnosis - catastrophic hard drive failure.  UGH.

Now two things I should tell you right off the bat - First, this did not affect my External Hard Drive which has all of my digiscrap supplies and photos on it. That drive was still fully functional. Hallelujah. And second, I wasn't terribly worried about the rest of it as I've been running "BackBlaze" on my computer for several years - since the last time I had a hard drive fail and had to learn the hard way about the importance of a back-up service. I knew that my files were backed up and should be retrievable through the BackBlaze online service.

Thankfully, I had my current work laptop, which has most of my "stuff" on it, so I was able to stay operational, albeit not in the ways to which I was accustomed.  I had to access home email through my webmail account which had none of my email folders, archives, contacts, etc. Which meant if your comment on a blog post came through without your email attached, I had no way to reply! And trying to complete layouts on my laptop screen was .... excruciating.  Which is why I ultimately quit the LOAD challenge without finishing out the month.  On the 24th I downloaded my backed up files from Backblaze - the biggest "issue" I faced was that all the work I had done on Excel spreadsheets for The Shop was a week out of date and I had to recreate the last week worth of work, which was actually a lot, but I got it done.

On Sunday evening, February 28, Jay finally pushed the "buy" button for my new computer. And then the waiting game began.  I waited. And waited. And waited some more.

And that, my friends, is the very long back-story to all the new things I learned in the last week.

My new computer finally arrived on the evening of  March 10. Check it out - That big silver and black box next to my monitor is my new HP Envy 750.  Jay & I both thought the new box would be much smaller - so not!

On Thursday night, after Jay unboxed and booted up the computer, I installed PSE13.  Yes, PRIORITIES ladies. Or else, just that it was something I knew how to do and was comfortable with.  I tried to install LR5 but ran into a snag with serial numbers and had to email the support group to get the serial number. I learned to write the serial number ON THE BOX so you don't have to look for the paper you saved it on or the old email (to which I still did not have access) where it might have been.  On Friday March 11, having received the errant serial number, I installed LR5 and learned how to import my old LR catalog so that all my photos with all the tagging would show up. Ta Da!

At this point Jay still hadn't ordered or installed any Microsoft Office product and I was wanting my email back.  So I went online and after conferring with him, ordered Microsoft Home and Business, downloaded, and installed the program.  Having access to Word and Excel, I began moving the personal files that I had downloaded from Backblaze to my work laptop onto my new computer. Using a thumb drive and moving 2-3 gigs of data at a time.

On Saturday, having gotten tired of waiting on Jay to set up my Outlook email account, I got online and learned how to set up .pop and .smtp email accounts - all by myself. AND I learned how to import my Outlook .pst backup file into the new account.  As if by magic, all of my old email and folders were restored! Hallelujah!  Yes, I'm a bit proud of my very non-techie self on that account! I'm only missing whatever email had downloaded to my computer on the day it died.  The rest of it was safely in the .pst back-up or still on my webmail account awaiting download. And I learned to set my webmail account to hold copies for two weeks after download before deleting from the server, so I won't have any missing emails again!

I also learned that I save a lot of stuff I really don't need. Being without all that back-up email for over two weeks, I realized that there was very little of it I would likely ever refer to again. And transferring files, I found stuff I hadn't opened in years and no longer had any need for. Which meant a fair bit of purging, but I feel very good about that. A little less digital clutter in my life!

I'm slowly reloading other programs, getting screens set up the way I want, and learning my way around Windows 10, which is VERY different from the Windows XP interface. Today I learned how to move my Backblaze account to my new computer and start the back-up process all over again. That was a lot of learning for one week!

Lest you think my entire weekend was consumed by computers, it wasn't.  My mother had given Jay & I a gift certificate for Bucks County Playhouse for Christmas.  We went on Sunday (an otherwise grey and dismal day) to see (NEW to us) the final showing of "Defending the Caveman"   The only thing I knew about the show is that it's a comedic play about relationships between men and women.  I didn't realize when booking the tickets that it was a one-man show. And I'm not sure what rock I've been living under, but the show has been running for 16 years and I had never heard of it.  Turns out it was great! We had great seats in the second row. The actor for our show was Vince Valentine, a Philadelphia native, and his version incorporated references that only folks from this area would understand.  It was hilariously funny and informative and we both laughed a lot.  A totally enjoyable experience.  Thanks Mom!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

One Little Word - "SIMPLE" Vision Boards

The One Little Word assignment for March is to create a Vision Board for your word.  This is probably my favorite prompt of the year and this year was no exception.

Initially, I went straight to making a digital version.  My Pinterest Boards and a few bits of digi-scrapbook stash allowed me to create this version.  And I was pretty happy with it.

But I still wanted to try my hand at a cut and paste and get messy version.  That required a trip to the thrift store to pick up some magazines.  By choosing only the ones that had blue tickets (blue tickets were 75% off that day), I was able to snag eight different magazines (Oprah, Real Simple, Fitness, Martha Stewart Living, Family Circle, and Everyday with Rachel Ray) for the princely sum of fifty three cents!  One evening of clipping in front of the television and a week of play later....
I've got layered images and words, a little bit of play with paints and textures, a couple of rub-ons, and some dimensional butterflies sprinkled around. All based on a 14 x 18" canvas board which I am going to hang in my office. I love the bright happy colors I was able to incorporate and all the positive words and messages.

What surprised me about this exercise is that for a gal whose word is "SIMPLE", my creations ended up being anything but!  In fact, I think both feel a little chaotic and wild, but in a good way, if that makes any sense. Maybe just a reflection of how my life feels right now. Seeing them together, do you see any themes jumping out at you to which I should be paying attention? Do you prefer one over the other? Why?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Pick of the Week

Since shopping the thrift stores and flea markets has become such a prominent part of my life, I was trying to figure out a way to share that here that would be interesting and informative but not be the primary thing I'm always adding to Memorandum Monday.  So here is the first installment of "Pick of the Week."  I will try to do a post for each week when I have an interesting find to share.

 This week's pick was found at a local thrift store.  It is a cast iron CASE train engine floor toy.  Cast iron toys were originally manufactured in America as children's playthings from the 1870's through World War II.  According to this eBay buying guide the one we found is likely a later reproduction because of the coarseness of the finish.  I also read that original pieces did not have gold paint.  In either case, we thought it was a cool piece that will likely sell quickly in our shop!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Memorandum Monday - You've Got {HAPPY} Mail!

Joining in with Sian and all my fellow Memorandum Monday-ers.  What "new" thing did I do last weekend?  Well, I had a very special surprise when this showed up in my mail:

Sian has knitted me the prettiest pair of striped socks! The foot part fits perfectly and the calf part is nice and slouchy loose - they may just become my new favorite sleeping socks! (yes, I am one of those people who wears socks to bed until the weather turns to sleeping-with-the-windows-open warm).  The socks were so prettily wrapped up in their little cuff, I almost didn't want to open them. But actually wearing them takes precedence and that cute little paper cuff with the washing instructions will likely find a home in my Simple Album as a remembrance of some very special happy mail.  THANK YOU so much Sian! I love them!

Friday, March 4, 2016

FIT & OLW Update

It occurs to me that I haven't really updated on my FIT and OLW (SIMPLE) journey since I posted some ridiculously embarassing numbers at the beginning of the year.  Here is what has been happening:

I closed out January with this mini layout. Just because I loved the meme when it popped up on Facebook!
My starting numbers and plan for February. Change is happening excruciatingly slowly, but it is happening!

I upped my daily step goal to 5500 steps.

 And I tried to keep the FIT mantra in mind as I was checking (or not checking as the case may be) boxes ... strive for PROGRESS, not perfection!

By the end of February, I had met my step goals 20 out of 29 days. That is roughly 66% which wasn't enough to convince me to push the goal to the next level just yet. But in the process, I've gone from rarely working out to going regularly to a Fitness Class, Tai Chi, and visiting a gym with my friend Rachel where we get to talk while hitting the treadmill for a half hour. That has been a HUGE change for me!

The prompt for One Little Word for February was "Practice" something for 30 days and chart it. I decided to "practice" making sure to log my food everyday. I managed 25 out of 29 days.  I have found being out and about on the weekends makes it harder to track. It may be time to download an app to my phone and stop making excuses.  Wanting to add that little enamel dot every day really helped keep me honest.  And keeping honest led to this:

My numbers for March 1st.  I am down a total of 6 pounds and 6 1/2" from the beginning of the year.  It is slow, but it is all in the right direction. I'm somewhat amazed at how much WORK it takes to get rid of a single pound and I'm hoping to keep my attitude and my work ethic strong so I can accomplish my goals.  I have had a few days (hmmm, maybe more than a few) where my inner critic has strongly suggested that I throw in the towel and eat the cookies. I've succumbed a few times, but I am finding it is getting a little easier to resist that nasty little voice in my head!

The March prompt for One Little Work is to create a vision board of our word.  I had so much fun playing with a digi version:

I uploaded this one in a slightly larger format, so you should be able to click on it and make it bigger to read all the smaller items.  Although my vision board doesn't seem all that focused on the concept of "SIMPLE", it is clearly focused on the things I am working on right now.  And I plan to make a cut and paste version too, but need to source some magazines first.  I'm also reusing February's prompt and will be practicing decluttering for the month of March.  Seriously hoping to fill that card!!!

Even if you aren't in these classes, are you practicing anything specific in March?

Monday, February 29, 2016

Memorandum Monday & LOAD 26

Happy Leap Day!  Popping in to quickly say hello to all my fellow Memorandum Monday-ers.

I spent my weekend thrifting, researching, and restocking The Shop.  One thing we bought was a Homer Winslow print titled "In The Mowing".  I never took any art history or art appreciation courses in high school or college, so all I knew in making the purchase was that Winslow was a famous artist.  What I learned in the research is that he was largely self-taught and considered one of the most influential American artists of his time. He did pencil sketches, oil on canvas, and ultimately watercolors - and it was with the watercolors that he truly made his name.  So now I know a little bit about Homer Winslow.

I didn't do any LOAD layouts for Saturday or Sunday. And as it turns out, I was just fine with it.  I have accomplished a lot this month - with all the layouts needed to complete Rachel & Becca's K-6 School of Life albums and a lot of other stories told as well.  So I was perfectly content to create this layout with Krystal Hartley's new "Fresh" kit.  I actually went outside and took the photo just to create the layout!

And then, just for fun, I made this page for my planner:
WHat did you do for fun this past weekend?

Friday, February 26, 2016

LOAD 21 - 25

A few of you asked about my friend Chris Witte and how her family was doing after her death.  It has been two years and I know it wasn't easy, but they all seem to be coping well. Her oldest daughter, Kristin, had two young boys at the time. She also inherited the care of her sister TaylorAnn who was only 18 and a freshman in college. Kristin is expecting her third son any day now and TaylorAnn is a Junior in college and doing well. I stay connected via facebook and whenever I send a care package to my girls, I send one to TaylorAnn as well - it's no harder to send out three than two! Luckily, they have a broad extended family and a wide range of Chris' friends who were willing to adopt them for a bit, so they've had the support they need to deal with the tragedy they went through.  Thanks for asking!

 2004-2005 School Year highlights.  For the School of Life albums.

 I did this page 4 times, changing out two photos and a bit of the journaling. It will be printed as a page for each of the girls' School of Life albums and our family "Places We Go" album.  Love it when I can make the work stretch that far!

 A page for Sarah's 7-12 grade School of Life Album

Documenting the making of beautiful smiles. I was originally going to do a separate page for each of them, but couldn't find any photos right after the braces came off that really showed those beautiful smiles - that was the period when all my photos of them are of hands in front of their face (thank heavens they eventually outgrow that stage!)  The pictures are each about 2 years apart.  It is amazing to see the growth in a span of just four years!